Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/09/18

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Consistent underexposure problem
From: Godfrey DiGiorgi <>
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 15:48:08 -0700

You're being unnecessarily argumentative about a simple point: testing 
the meter to see if it is working correctly. If you have three (new) 
meters in agreement, you can presume they are all calibrated consistently 
and correctly.

>Logically, you should also check the shutter speed and movement in the 
>camera, and the resolution of each lens.  Do you?

Yes: I have my cameras' shutter speeds checked whenever a manufacturer 
open-house happens to coincide with my going to the camera shop where 
they're having it, typically once or twice a year and one or two of my 
cameras gets checked each time. I do test each lens at all aperture 
settings by shooting at least one test roll of film when I buy it.

>At least you mentioned Minolta, which reassures me.  I've never cared for 
>their cameras (but never used them, either), but perhaps their meters are
>pretty good.

Minolta meters are excellent: well made, reliable, good features, very 
accurate. I find them a little bulky and don't use all the features, and 
I like some other meters' readouts better because they are a bit simpler. 
Personal preference.

>The only problem is that almost none of my subjects are close
>enough to make use of an incident meter practical.  I also don't
>see how they account for the distance between the camera and the

For outdoor subjects, the distance between the meter and the subject for 
outdoor subjects makes no difference. The only issue of significance is 
that the incident meter is in the same light as the subject is. Outdoor 
subjects are lit by the sun and sky, so if you're subject is in shade, 
you take your reading in the shade, if it's in direct sun, you take your 
reading in direct sun, etc.

>Unfortunately, the spot meter cost more than I could really
>afford, so getting an incident meter as well is not an option at
>this time (I don't want to give up the spot meter).

Personally, I'd return it. Both your F5 and the M6 have reflective, 
selective area "spot" meters in them. Once they are known to be accurate 
and you understand what they are seeing, the hand held 1 degree spot 
meter is mostly redundant. It's the same thing only the reading is 
constrained to a smaller spot. An incident meter is less expensive and 
meters in a way which is different from the spot meter, which makes it 
more valuable as an addition to your photographic toolkit.

>Of course, with the F5 and the Leica (once I get used to the
>latter, I hope), I should not need any external meters, anyway.

True. However, I find I keep using the incident meter for flash setups 
and for tricky lighting when it's difficult to find the correct exposure. 
And for testing equipment.